Vital test-and-trace support being offered to Coventry and Warwickshire hospitality businesses

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Photo caption: Patrick McCallum, Solicitor in Wright Hassall’s Commercial Team

A webinar is being held to help Coventry and Warwickshire’s pubs, restaurants and cafes avoid the threat of a damaging Coronavirus-related fine.

Since 4 July pubs, restaurants and cafes have been required to take the personal details, such as name and phone number, of every customer as part of a nationwide test-and-trace programme.

This is so that if a customer has attended a venue at the same time as someone who has later been diagnosed with Coronavirus – they are then notified so they can self-isolate.

However, one of the the region’s leading law firms, Wright Hassall, has warned that the test-and-trace initiative places businesses at risk of breaching data protection guidelines – an offence that can run into thousands of pounds – and as such, is hosting a free online session on 4 August at 2pm to reassure businesses about what they should do to avoid a fine.

The session will look at the process of capturing and retaining personal data in accordance with the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 – including how to avoid any potential data breaches, how to store information, when to use it, and how to keep it safe.

Patrick McCallum, Solicitor in Wright Hassall’s Commercial Team, said: “Hospitality business owners have been some of the hardest hit financially during the Coronavirus lockdown, so the last thing they need as they emerge from this crisis is a hefty fine that could jeopardise their business.

“That’s why it’s important that business owners take the time to properly review their approach to handling customers’ data.

“While those businesses who were already operating an online booking system will feel minimal change, this will come as a big change for others.

“Some businesses will be tempted to use the extra data they collect on their customers to send them marketing information.

“After all, these businesses have been unable to trade properly for months and will be keen to attract as many people as possible to help increase their cashflow and make up for the lean months of lockdown.

“However, the laws around marketing consents – particularly when it comes to members of the public – are stringent and businesses should understand their obligations before pursuing such initiatives.”